I have a love/hate relationship with 20 milers, like most marathoners. There's a sort of mystique about them, where the number in a particular training schedule is like a badge of honor. A few plans have runs going longer, some shorter, and I understand the rationale behind both.
Some say that the gains to the body aren't worth the risks; that once you go above 20 miles or a certain amount of time on your feet chances of injury go way up. I don't know if those who argue this point have any good research to back it up, but I can get their meaning.
The Hansons, I've heard, generally don't have their runners go much above 16 miles for the long run- and for them, that would take about two hours. I would think that the majority of their group's run easy pace is ~6:30, maybe 6:45. Since the Hansons have their runners up around 90-120 miles/week, it kind of makes sense.
But for many, 20 miles is a kind of bell weather; if you can do 20, you can do a marathon. Building up to 20 can be tough, especially if you do it slow and sure, only adding a mile or so to the long run every other week. That's the smart way of doing it.
Me, I went from 12 to 17 to 20 in three weeks. Not as smart, but as an experienced runner I can honestly say that I've done things more stupid. I'll take it easy for a week or so, and then go up to another 20, possibly more. I don't know- I'll leave it for the coach to decide.
I'm happy that my 20 miler today went well. My legs are a little tired, but it's that pleasantly fatigued feeling that comes from a job well done. They sort of tingle, which could either be due to the strain of the run today or the cold water spray down I gave them after my shower. Or both.
I'm not sure it matters. I do know that I'm pretty excited about going for a long trainer ride tomorrow at the Novi Running Fit; I'm hoping to bike as long as I ran today, time wise. I'm also looking forward to getting in a good amount of time stretching tonight, because I figure my body really needs it.
But mostly, I'm getting excited about the training. If I did the counting right, Bayshore is 13 weeks away. Means 11 weeks of some hard training and the a two week taper, which will also be hard, but in a different way.
And yeah, I'm pretty excited to see how it'll go. :)
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